A woman wearing a red and white striped top with high waisted dark blue denim jeans against a back drop of houseplants
Barbie top Dawn Jeans Gertie Charm Patterns Jeans & Trousers Knit Megan Nielsen Patterns My Wardrobe Tops Woven

Motivation and Lockdown

Wow it’s been a long time. So much has happened since my last post; and not just the whole world going to shit. If you’re here just for the sewing, skip to the end!

In February 2020 my husband Ben and I had the most wonderful week in Iceland. I’ve wanted to go since I was a child and it was just as beautiful as I had hoped. The world is so big with so much to explore that I like to visit somewhere different every time I travel. But Iceland is most definitely a place I would visit again. Plus they have gorgeous lopi wool in almost every shop. I’m not ashamed to say I returned with a suitcase full of the stuff! We were lucky to return to the UK before things got really bad with covid.

Not long after returning from Iceland, the UK went into its first full lockdown. It meant working from home and only leaving the house for a walk each day. I was lucky enough that I could do my job from home, but Ban, a photographer, had a lot of work cancelled overnight. He worked ridiculously hard to move a huge amount of his work online, which continues now. It was by no means easy but it could have been so much worse.

Since the start of the first lockdown, and for pretty much the rest of the year, my ‘sewjo’ completely disappeared. My work computer was setup on the dining table, which had been my sewing table. So the last thing I wanted to do after working all day was sit in the same spot to sew. I did make lots of masks, but it wasn’t what I’d call fun. In addition, my need for outdoor clothes had dramatically reduced. I spent a lot of time, and still do now, in loungewear.

After plodding along for a few months, we were suddenly busy with much more important things! Once restrictions were eased, and after years of renting and saving, we bought our first house together! We got the keys in November 2020 and spent about 6 weeks completely transforming the place. It needed all new electrics, a new heating system, carpets ripping out, wallpaper stripped from every wall… It hadn’t been touched in about 40 years and needed so much work to get it ready to move into. Our Christmas 2020 was spent repairing and decorating so we could move in once our tenancy ran out. I don’t think I’ve ever ached so much as I did then.

We had the added worry of my adult son contracting covid during this time. It was the best case scenario in that it was symptom free and the rest of the household didn’t catch it. I’m so thankful we all stayed healthy but 2 weeks of quarantine definitely set us back in renovating.

After moving house, the government eased more restrictions, if only temporarily, and I was made to return to the office to work. I struggled with a lot of anxiety around having to be in an enclosed, windowless office with others. I couldn’t sleep, I was crying every day and had no motivation for anything at all, let alone doing anything creative. Combined with a terrible boss and a toxic work environment I made the decision to leave. I found a new admin role within the NHS working from home and it’s been like a breath of fresh air. I can finally sleep again and I feel like a new person. It’s incredible how much a bad job can affect your whole life.

I’m now in a place where I want to make things all the time. My motivation has returned with a vengeance! I also have my own sewing and office space now so no more sewing at the dining table. I have been making up for lost time and making so many new things. So onto the sewing part of this post.

Barbie Top

This is a whole outfit post, just because. The top is a Charm Patterns Barbie top made in a stripy cotton jersey. It’s a free pattern from the Gertie Patreon and I have made the size 8H which matches my measurements perfectly. I lowered the neckline, shortened the body length and raised the bust dart up by 1 inch. It’s a really quick make but the bust dart still seems too low on me. The body rises up and the shoulder seams move too far to the back. Hopefully raising the bust dart another inch will fix these issues.

Barbie Top Adjustments

  • Raised bust dart 1″
  • Lowered neckline
  • Cut neckline binding 85% of new neckline measurement
  • Shortened the body at the hemline
A woman wearing a red and white striped top with high waisted dark blue denim jeans against a back drop of houseplants

Dawn Jeans

The jeans are fresh off the machine and are the Megan Nielsen Dawn jeans pattern. This is one I wanted to love but had so much trouble with previous versions. I made them first in a non stretch lined denim and couldn’t even get them on. They were laughably small and really short. Considering I’m 5’6″ with an inside leg that matches the pattern, I have no idea how that happened.

This pair I made from a heavy weight stretch denim. It is the heaviest stretch denim I could find and is brushed on the inside. It is beyond cosy, I love it! My measurements put me in a 12 waist and 16 hip. But knowing that I had to size up to a 20 hip in the non stretch, I cut a 12 waist and 18 hip for this pair. Spoiler, they are tight but they fit. Yay!

I also added 3″ to the length. They are now maybe a touch too long but I’ve got the option to roll them up.

I used Gutermann Mara 70 thread throughout as it’s perfect for both seams and for topstitching. I love the red colour against the super dark denim.

I made a few alterations to the pattern using the parts I love from the Closet Core Ginger jeans pattern. The fly is cut on and sewn as per the ginger jeans. The pocket bags are shortened by 1/2″ and extended to be pocket stays. I’ve seen lots of issues with the dawn jeans pockets sticking out. Making them into pocket stays eliminates this problem. I wouldn’t suggest using pocket stays if you are making the jeans in non-stretch denim though. I think this would probably stop you being able to breathe!

Having worn these a lot since making them, they are without a doubt, my new favourite jeans. They do loosen up a touch with wear but not enough to do anything about.

Dawn Jeans Adjustments

  • My measurements: 31″ waist, 44″ hip
  • Stretch denim used instead of non-stretch
  • Size 12 waist tapered out to 18 hip
  • 3/4″ wedge removed from back to try and reduce drag lines below bum
  • Cut on fly as per ginger jeans
  • Fly guard made wider
  • Pockets shortened by 1/2″
  • Pockets extended into pocket stays as per ginger jeans
A woman wearing a red and white striped top with high waisted dark blue denim jeans against a back drop of houseplants
A woman wearing a red and white striped top with high waisted dark blue denim jeans against a back drop of houseplants
A woman wearing a red and white striped top with high waisted dark blue denim jeans against a back drop of houseplants

Until next time, I’m off to sew and make some shoes!!!

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